If you want to see the impact of a Biblical worldview, consider the differences between Haiti and the US. That’s the gist of the exchange below.
We recently received a note from our friend Mike Bell, national director of Hungry for Life USA. We have captured his questions, and Darrow’s responses in bullet points.
“I was teaching some students last weekend, and pointing out the difference between a country like Haiti and ours, talking about lies and Biblical truth … and some of the students understood me to be saying that “America is more biblical”
- Was more Biblical, but is not now.
- America was founded by Christians (not today’s dualistic evangelicals and charismatics) who thought, functioned, and built a nation framed by a Biblical worldview.
- America is totally secular today. Some are still living from a memory of a Biblical worldview. But most Americans, including many Christians, are functioning from an atheistic and materialistic paradigm.
- We need to make a clear distinction between America’s founders/founding and the nation today.
“and better than countries like Haiti”
- We need to be very clear that Americans are not inherently better than any other people. Sometime we make people feel this way. And sometimes people think they are inferior to Americans. Both are wrong
- The fact is that all human beings are “created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights …..”
- Americans are not better than Haitians and Haitians are not better than (North) Americans.
- In fact it was the American founders’ understanding of the above quote that made America what she became and is now fast losing.
- Any society that begins with a Biblical worldview and Biblical principles will move toward a state of flourishing. Any that begins with a lie or illusion will suffer poverty. It is not the people that are better or worse; the ideas are better and worse.
“as seen in the fact that we are richer.”
- The test of a nations success is not found in her material wealth.
- It is found in her wisdom and in her personal and public righteousness – goodness.
- Material wealth is an incomplete benchmark of the health of a nation.
- A nation that “obeys all that Christ has commanded” will move toward flourishing in all areas of life, including economic. A people that does not obey “all that Christ has commanded” will tend to deteriorate and suffer.
“At first I thought ‘Oh dear, I need to clarify this'”
- Yes, it does need to be clarified.
“but then I realized, on the face of it, I WAS making the point that our affluence is an indicator of the underpinnings of Biblical ethics, the rule of law, a work ethic … even though these things are not universally held by our culture now.”
- Again, I would not use the word affluence. This has the connotation of mere material wealth. The health of a nation is much more than material. We are currently an affluent nation that is morally and spiritually bankrupt. This bankruptcy, uncorrected, will inevitably lead to our economic demise.
- You are correct in that some of the things that you have listed will lead to a nation’s flourishing. Other influences include the dignity of all human beings, justice, truth, beauty, et al.
“How else would you clarify or modify what I was attempting to communicate (which was much more nuanced than simply America is more biblical and better than countries like Haiti as seen in the fact that we are richer). For example, would you make the distinction that you are not talking about “God blessing religious behavior” or any sort of health-and-wealth thinking?”
- This is not about religious behavior and religious fervor. It is not even about “believing in God.” It is about believing God. It is about living in the reality that he has created, not in the illusions that we have made.
- It is certainly not about health-and-wealth, name-it-and-claim-it theology. That is magical thinking and only reinforces the mindset that has made Haitians impoverished in the first place.
- It is about what we call the “cultural trinity”: Truth, Goodness (Justice), and Beauty. We are to live within the circle of the cultural trinity. We are to live in the reality of creation, within the framework of the Biblical worldview and principle.
“Also, if someone points out the affluence of countries that do not (nor have not) had a strong Biblical background, what is your typical response?”
- God has made the universe to function in a certain way. A person or people does not have to be saved to function within that frame work. The law of gravity works!
- Truth is self-authenticating, lies are self-destructive.
- Many people who are saved do not function within the reality that God has made. They function in a materialistic frame. Some function in a super-spirituality framework.
- It is Christians who have access to understand why the world functions in a given way.
These are good questions, Mike. For a more complete answer see my book, Discipling Nations. This book is where I answer these questions.
– Darrow Miller